Education News Roundup: Sept. 13, 2012

"DSC_0002-7" by Jeff Karlsen/CC/flickr

“DSC_0002-7” by Jeff Karlsen/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Two senators and two representatives criticize the selection process for the new state superintendent. (SLT)
and (PDH) or

the Senators and Representatives:
(Utah Senate Site)

or the Board Chair’s response: (Utah Public Education)

Trib takes a look at schools seeing the movie “Bully” (SLT)

Where are the “I (heart) Jicama Sticks” t-shirts (PDH)

ESPN analyst looks at high school football participation in light of all the concussion talk. (ESPN)

ENR thinks the purple violin is cool. (Farmington Daily Times)

Join in the education Twitter forum. (NPR)





Utah lawmakers criticize schools boss selection process Education » Board hoping to choose new leader before legislative session.

Salt Lake City students watch, reflect on ‘Bully’

Bullying » More than 12,000 Utah kids to see film.

Environmentalists want Herbert to end Utah ‘land grab’

Politics » Governor’s Office says it wants to start a discussion with feds on balanced management.

Jicama highlights food controversy at district

Utah County high-schoolers continue dance invitation tradition

School boundaries influence home buying

Van Gorder to fill in as Park City superintendent

Cache Valley fourth-graders get hands-on with nature

Canyons kindergarteners look ahead to college Higher education » Superintendent David Doty encourages class to dream big.

YMCA after-school programs about more than fun Continuing education » Kids learn to prevent bullying, avoid gang activity.

Hillcrest Jr. High’s assistant principal transitions into a new role Helping hand » From student to teacher to administrator, Andrew Corser focuses on the underdog.

Seventh Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards Program kick-off announced

Judge students honor the Holy Cross Sisters’ legacy

Former Cache Valley teacher considering plea deal in abuse case

4.3 million now in Permanent Fund ….

…. of Teachers` Colleges

With FrontRunner coming, UTA teaching kids about train safety

Cedar City remembers 9/11

Utah Students Help Develop New Rescue Backboard

Adults spell, spend for Project Read

Deal aims to improve statistics


Chicago teachers’ strike illogical

Utah needs a balanced public lands policy

A platform for everybody else

Three thoughtful reflections on the Chicago teachers’ strike

Senator Karen Morgan Honored by Canyons Board of Education

Stand up to teachers, but don’t demonize them

Students Over Unions

Striking Teachers, Divided Antipathies

Both sides say they only have the interest of schoolchildren at heart.

Chicago teachers lose unless they revise strategy

Forget rating teachers. Think Grit 101.

It’s time for the candidates to offer a strong education strategy

Is technology sapping children’s creativity?

High school football participation

An anecdotal look at changing perceptions in California preps

Review of The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City


Research Links ‘Responsive’ Teaching to Academic Gains

Can NAEP Predict College Readiness?

Income Gap Shows Need for Better Education, Diamond, Chao Say

Agreement near in Chicago teachers strike: union chief

New Study from World Savvy shows that among those 18-24 there is Lack of Global Competency Skills for 21st Century Global Economy

Poll: Parents and teachers support spending for classroom technology

Safety class is required for students to get parking

Arne Duncan promotes digital education

Violet violin violation: Tibbetts orchestra won’t allow purple instruments

Twitter Education Forum




Utah lawmakers criticize schools boss selection process Education » Board hoping to choose new leader before legislative session.

Four Republican legislators are criticizing the state school board, saying the process they’ve devised to select a new state superintendent “flies in the face of representative government.”

The head of the state school board, however, said Thursday it’s the same process that’s been used in the past — a method that will allow education leaders to find the best candidate from the widest pool possible but in time for the legislative session. (SLT) (PDH) (Utah Senate Site) (Utah Public Education)

Salt Lake City students watch, reflect on ‘Bully’

Bullying » More than 12,000 Utah kids to see film.

The film begins with home video of a small boy, playfully pushing his face into a camera lens, sticking out his tongue and laughing.

The picture then switches to his father, silently looking into a different camera years later, his eyes glassy with tears. His son, the little boy making faces, died by suicide as a teenager after being bullied at school.

“I think he got to a point,” his grieving father says, “where enough was enough.”

It’s a scene about 12,500 Salt Lake City and Park City school district students will see over the next couple weeks as they fill Utah movie theaters for the documentary “Bully,” a sometimes gritty and shocking look at bullying in schools. Screenings began this week for students in the Salt Lake City District, some of whom are also participating in question and answer sessions with Alex Libby, one of the students bullied in the film. (SLT)

Environmentalists want Herbert to end Utah ‘land grab’

Politics » Governor’s Office says it wants to start a discussion with feds on balanced management.

Environmentalists and an outdoor retailer demanded Wednesday that Gov. Gary Herbert stop Utah’s bid to claim federal lands, calling it harmful to Utah’s image and tourism economy.

“Our public lands are a powerful calling card that will continue to attract industry and jobs,” said Dwight Butler, owner of Wasatch Touring, an outdoor outfitter, during a rally at the Capitol. “In the interest of our children and future of our economy, Utah should be a leader in preserving and protecting these lands. … [We] would like to see Governor Herbert end his quixotic lawsuits and ultimatums against the federal government.”

Afterward, the group delivered a petition and postcards from 5,400 Utahns, gathered by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, urging the governor to end the land wars.

But the governor’s spokeswoman, Ally Isom, said that the governor is looking to ensure the use of the public lands is “optimized,” which it is not under the current management regime. (SLT) (DN) (OSE) (PDH) (KUTV) (KTVX) (KSL) (KSTU) (KUER)

Jicama highlights food controversy at district

Jicama is causing a stir in Alpine School District.

The little-known vegetable left many people scratching their heads at a recent board meeting when staff reported that they are serving this as part of a federal requirement that has some seeing waste.

The district’s hands are tied, said officials.

A new federal requirement says that every student must take a fruit or vegetable on their tray as part of school lunch. If they don’t, the federal subsidy for that particular lunch isn’t paid. So every student who doesn’t take their fruit or vegetable is charged an extra 70 cents — the lost federal subsidy. Some parents and teachers appreciate the new rule, but some have reported to the district that students are just taking the fruit or vegetable and then throwing it away, all to avoid being charged the 70-cent fee.

To discourage waste, the district is experimenting with different vegetables, and jicama sticks have been a surprise hit among students, said assistant superintendent Rob Smith. (PDH)

Utah County high-schoolers continue dance invitation tradition

About this time of year, high school students sometimes act mysteriously — sneaking up to other people’s doors and leaving something at the step, ringing the bell and then sprinting back to a waiting car where an accomplice is ready to peel out and make a clean getaway.

These doorbell ditchers are not on a pranking crime-spree, but are simply adhering to the Utah custom of trying to secure a date to the homecoming dance. Here in Utah, it is understood among high school students that a boy does not simply walk up to the girl he hopes to take and ask her face-to-face if she’ll go with him to a dance.

With homecoming for Lone Peak, Lehi and American Fork high schools all scheduled for Saturday, both creativity and school spirit are at an all-time high in northern Utah County right now. (PDH)

School boundaries influence home buying

SALT LAKE CITY — For most real estate shoppers, buying a home is an exercise in compromise. The pleasant neighborhood comes with a long commute. The lower mortgage equals a smaller house.

For parents of school-age children, complications multiply as the search for an affordable home is weighed against the desire to enroll children in top-quality schools. The dilemma’s solution is different for every family.

Paying more for a home where children can attend a great public school can be wiser than spending that money on private school tuition, according to the MOVOTO real estate blog. (DN)

Van Gorder to fill in as Park City superintendent

A longtime employee of the Park City School District will serve as superintendent while the school board seeks a permanent successor for outgoing leader Ray Timothy.

Tom Van Gorder, who has worked in several positions for the district since 1994, will fill in for Timothy, who is leaving to head up the Utah Education Network.

Timothy will take over the position of chief executive officer at UEN starting Oct. 1. Timothy replaces Mike Petersen, who resigned in January to accept a faculty position at Utah State University.

UEN provides network, application and support services to public education, higher education and libraries. (SLT)

Cache Valley fourth-graders get hands-on with nature

The normally serene wilderness up Logan Canyon was interrupted by squeals and shouts of eager young fourth-graders Wednesday as they caught bugs, identified plant life and learned what local animals need to survive.

The students were participating in the annual Fourth Grade Natural Resource Field Trip. Held at the Guinavah-Malibu Campground in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the field trip is a collaboration among several local entities to give the fourth-grade students a hands-on activity while teaching them from the state curriculum.

The field trip is put on by the Cache County School District, 4-H, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USU Water Quality Extension, Soil Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, Utah Association of Conservation Districts and the USU Department of Education. (LHJ)

Canyons kindergarteners look ahead to college Higher education » Superintendent David Doty encourages class to dream big.

Sandy • When you are a kindergartner, trying envision what your plans will be 13 years down the line is pretty close to impossible.

Heck, thinking about plans 13 days from now is a stretch.

But Sprucewood Elementary students got a glimpse into what many hope will be their future earlier this month during the Canyons’ School District’s annual Kindergarten College-Ready Day.

The Class of 2025 was greeted by teachers, faculty members and district Superintendent David Doty, each dressed in their college graduation gowns, and participated in a show-and-tell presentation in which they told classmates what they wanted to be when they grow up. (SLT)

YMCA after-school programs about more than fun Continuing education » Kids learn to prevent bullying, avoid gang activity.

It’s no longer just fun to stay at the YMCA.

With curriculum ranging from diet and healthy living to bullying and gang prevention, the YMCA of Northern Utah is working to ensure that the learning doesn’t stop with the end of the school day.

For many Utah schoolchildren, whatever learning they get after the final bell, they must get on their own. According to the nonprofit public awareness advocacy group Afterschool Alliance, each day more than 140,000 Utah children are responsible for taking care of themselves when they leave school. Kristen Courtney, youth programs director for the YMCA of Northern Utah, said curbing the effects of idleness — including gang activity — is a huge part of their after-school program. (SLT)

Hillcrest Jr. High’s assistant principal transitions into a new role Helping hand » From student to teacher to administrator, Andrew Corser focuses on the underdog.

Andrew “Buck” Corser walked the halls of Hillcrest Junior High as a student. He returned there in 2004 as a teacher, and this year, he’s taking a new position as assistant principal.

“I’m a product of the Murray School District,” he said.

He didn’t always see himself as a teacher, let alone an administrator.

“I think I wanted to play for the Yankees,” he said with a laugh. “That didn’t really pan out.” (SLT)

Seventh Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards Program kick-off announced

SALINA– Five area teachers will be recognized for excellence in teaching again this school year by the Arch Coal Foundation through its prestigious Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards program. The announcement was made by Ken May, general manager of the Sufco mine.

“Outstanding teachers have such a positive influence on our lives, but we often forget to thank them for all they do,” May said. “The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards program provides a way for community members to recognize those excellent teachers who helped shape their lives.”

Award winners receive $3,500 personal cash awards, plaques and trophies, as well as widespread recognition. (PDH)

Judge students honor the Holy Cross Sisters’ legacy

SALT LAKE CITY — Judge Memorial Catholic High School students honored the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross at a Mass Sept. 6 concelebrated by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City; Dominican Father Dominic Briese, Judge Memorial chaplain and religion teacher; and Monsignor Joseph Mayo, rector and pastor of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, who is also a Judge Memorial graduate, Class of 1965.

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross was responsible for starting Judge Memorial in 1920 when the Judge family decided to turn the building from a miner’s hospital into a school. During the Sept. 6 celebration, each sister who served at the school was recognized by name during the ceremony; the sisters currently serving in Utah were honored as well. (IC)

Former Cache Valley teacher considering plea deal in abuse case

A former teacher charged with child abuse is considering a settlement in her case in preparation for a pre-trial conference set for Monday.

Angie Coats Johnson, 42, was in 1st District Court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing where a judge would decide if there was probable cause that she committed a crime.

However, she has waived her right to that process.

Johnson, who was a teacher at Fast Forward Charter High School until this summer, has been charged with a misdemeanor child abuse charge involving a family member. (LHJ)

4.3 million now in Permanent Fund ….

…. of Teachers` Colleges

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – In addition to the $29 million that was distributed to Utah’s public schools, the School and Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA) distributed $320,865 to Utah’s colleges and universities that educate future teachers for the Utah public schools. Including land sales of $194,440, the total revenue for 2012 was $515,305.

At the time of statehood, Congress designated Utah‘s trust land beneficiaries. The largest percentage of the trust lands were granted to Utah’s public schools. One of the 11 other beneficiaries is the “Normal Schools”, which in the vernacular of 1896 meant colleges that instruct future public school teachers. (Main Street Business Journal)

With FrontRunner coming, UTA teaching kids about train safety

LEHI — UTA officials with Operation Lifesaver spoke with Meadow Elementary students about train safety on Monday in preparation for the FrontRunner line that will be opening near the school this year. Meadow is the closest elementary school to FrontRunner tracks in the state.

“Look, listen and live,” Marc Bowman with UTA told the crowd of students.

“By following some simple rules you can enjoy the trains and be safe around them as well,” he said. (PDH)

Cedar City remembers 9/11

CEDAR CITY — Although most of their students had not even been born when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, two elementary schools in Cedar City observed the day with a spirit of patriotism.

Fiddlers Canyon Elementary School calls the 9/11 observance Patriot Day, and many of the students’ parents attended the flag ceremony as well. The ceremony included songs by the students, the posting of colors by Cedar City firefighters Lowell Sorensen and Derek Shirley, and a brief speech by Cedar City police officer Isaac Askeroth, who serves as Fiddler Canyon’s school resource officer. (SGS)

Utah Students Help Develop New Rescue Backboard

Utah students and businesses came together to a better life-saving product.

It’s a new and improved rescue backboard.

Firefighters and rescue personnel have used the backboard to stabilize patients.

But the traditional backboard often caused EMT’s to injure their backs.

The new board is supposed to be easier to lift and more comfortable for patients.

EZ Lift Rescue Systems and Zien Medical Technologies partnered with some high school students to build it. (KUTV)

Adults spell, spend for Project Read

PROVO — It’s not every day that adults have to compete in spelling bees, but on Wednesday, grown-ups gathered in the Utah Valley Convention Center to put their spelling to the test during the Project Read Spelling Bee fundraiser. (PDH)

Deal aims to improve statistics

The Utah High School Activities Association already handles the postseason, the officiating and regulation for athletics for the majority of schools in the state. But the association has just struck a new deal that will help it enterprise in another area.

Scores and statistics.

The UHSAA announced last week it would partner with, a CBS Sports site for high school athletics, to create a new hub for school officials to report game scores and record statistics. The deal is expected to generate revenue for the association while making it a more all-encompassing organization.

“The concept behind this is it’s a single point of entry for box scores,” said Kevin Dustin, one of the assistant directors for the UHSAA. “We know we’re going to have a bit of a learning curve, but the goal is to have every score reported on every sport and to present those basic box scores to our media partners.” (SLT)




Chicago teachers’ strike illogical

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

The mere idea that public school teachers in Chicago are on strike is another example of public unions existing in an alternate universe from the rest of us. The teachers’ union in Chicago is completely out-of-touch with reality.

Our opposition to the strike is not an attack on teachers. Their efforts are appreciated. However, their unions — and the current example is Chicago — need to understand that they were offered, and rejected, a great contract deal. Frankly, it was more than was sensible.

The strike is not about justice for the teachers, rather it’s an example of a spoiled, indulged child throwing a temper tantrum.

Cal Grondahl editorial cartoon

Utah needs a balanced public lands policy Deseret News op-ed by Alan Matheson, Gov. Gary Herbert’s senior environmental advisor

Last month, my son and I fished several streams in the Uinta Mountains. We hiked through spectacular canyons, encountered abundant wildlife, caught our share of trout and continued to build a special relationship — all on public lands.

Reflecting on this experience, I looked beyond what will be a cherished personal memory and considered the social implications of our trip (revealing the twisted mind of a policy guy). We contributed to the economy of a struggling rural community. We stayed in a hotel, ate several meals at the two restaurants in town and purchased supplies at a general store — each enterprise locally owned. We also burned through a lot of gas, affecting our nation’s trade imbalance, security and environment.

More recently, I met with the leadership of the Outdoor Industry Association to follow up on Gov. Gary Herbert’s commitment to develop an outdoor recreation vision for Utah. The meeting was positive, cordial and productive.

A platform for everybody else

(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Heidi Toth

We the people who occupy the 90 percent of the political spectrum that is not insanely extreme, who feel sadly under-represented by the official platforms of both political parties, hereby create our own.

We will be guided not by grandstanding, fear, sad misinterpretation of the Bible or hatred but rather by compassion, the need for sacrifice, long-term thinking and the simple truth that life is not fair.

• Ignorance: We do not support the removal of sex education, evolution, critical thinking or any other useful skill from public schools. We will not allow Texas public schools to dictate the science textbooks the rest of the nation gets. We refuse to allow the future leaders of this nation to grow up with their heads buried in the sand.

• Education: We want to see good teachers — teachers whose funding and pay are on par with the football coach. Bad teachers with longevity should not be rewarded, but a teacher’s value should not be based entirely on student performance. We want to see educators, legislators and other stakeholders check politics at the door and come up with real solutions as to how we can make education better.

And yes, we support football. And physical education, arts and music in schools.

Three thoughtful reflections on the Chicago teachers’ strike Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

I’m catching a train to Washington, D.C. this morning, so I don’t have time for a long post. But I read three interesting, thoughtful perspectives on the Chicago teachers’ strike during my morning email check, and I want to share them with readers.

Senator Karen Morgan Honored by Canyons Board of Education Utah Senate Democrats commentary

Tonight Senator Karen Morgan received the Apex Legacy Award from the Canyons School District Board of Education, the highest honor bestowed by the Board. The Board of Education’s Apex Awards are designed to express gratitude to community leaders and educators who have served as champions of public education and who exemplify the Board’s four tenets of fostering student achievement, community engagement, innovation, and customer service.

Stand up to teachers, but don’t demonize them Chicago Sun-Times editorial

Allow us today to come to the defense of the striking Chicago teachers in a way that will fully please almost nobody, certainly not the teachers.

We don’t think the teachers are greedy. We don’t think the teachers are in this just for themselves.

They want more money and greater job security. Who doesn’t? No apologies necessary.

The teachers also are demanding a long list of school improvements so they can do their jobs right. They want air conditioning and more social workers and textbooks for every student on the first day of class. The teachers say this would help students far more than another round of standardized exams that encourage teaching to the test.

These are not faked-up issues, though Mayor Rahm Emanuel all but rolled his eyes at the idea of the teachers union trying to negotiate for something so out in left field as air conditioning.

Students Over Unions

New York Times commentary by columnist NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

The most important civil rights battleground today is education, and, likewise, the most crucial struggle against poverty is the one fought in schools.

Inner-city urban schools today echo the “separate but equal” system of the early 1950s. In the Chicago Public Schools where teachers are now on strike, 86 percent of children are black or Hispanic, and 87 percent come from low-income families.

Those students often don’t get a solid education, any more than blacks received in their separate schools before Brown v. Board of Education. Chicago’s high school graduation rates have been improving but are still about 60 percent. Just 3 percent of black boys in the ninth grade end up earning a degree from a four-year college, according to the Consortium on Chicago School Research.

America’s education system has become less a ladder of opportunity than a structure to transmit inequity from one generation to the next.

That’s why school reform is so critical.

Striking Teachers, Divided Antipathies

Both sides say they only have the interest of schoolchildren at heart.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by JOSEPH EPSTEIN, author of “Essays in Biography”

Chicago – Whichever way the Chicago teachers strike ends, one may be fairly certain that the children of Chicago will not win. This may seem an odd prediction, since both sides in the strike, the 29,000-member Chicago Teachers Union vs. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago School Board, contend that this dispute is at bottom about the children, with each, of course, having only the interest of the children at heart.

No chance here of the adversaries declaring their true concerns. If they did, the union would announce its desire for more money and less outside interference by way of enforced teacher evaluations, pay raises based on merit, the imposition of a longer school day, the disposition of the fate of teachers whose schools have been closed, and job security generally. The city would announce that in addition to being concerned about an expected $3 billion budget shortfall in education over the next three years, there is also the public-relations worry about an educational system producing such pathetic results. Something like 40% of the 350,000 kids who go to public schools here do not graduate from high school, which makes Chicago and those who run it look very bad indeed.

Chicago teachers lose unless they revise strategy USA Today op-ed by Jack Schneider, author of Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools

For the past three days, nearly 30,000 educators have been on the streets of Chicago marching, chanting and carrying signs. They are determined. And they are united. But they have the wrong message and, as such, they are on the verge of permanently alienating the American public sympathy for a fairer contract, especially in the midst of a recession.

Even if teachers were to change tack and talk about the potential flaws in “value-added” teacher evaluations, they would still fail to generate real sympathy, at least in this case. District leaders in Chicago have proposed both a 16% pay increase and a relatively benign roll-out of such testing-focused teacher accountability. Over the course of five years, the weight of such measures will slowly climb until they account for 25% of evaluations for elementary school teachers and 40% for high school teachers. These figures are roughly in line with what the public thinks they should be.

Reformers have spent the past decade staking out the rhetorical high ground on this issue, making the case that teacher opposition to reform is motivated by inflexible self-interest. Adult needs, they argue, must finally take a back seat to educating children. This shouldn’t be about contracts; it should be about kids.

Forget rating teachers. Think Grit 101.

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

The Chicago teachers strike and its focus on new ways to assess teachers remind me of a brilliant 2002 book, “Children As Pawns: The Politics of Educational Reform,” by Timothy A. Hacsi. It argued convincingly that politicians and others with the power to make education policy rarely read education research, and if they do, they only accept conclusions that confirm their biases.

Chicago teachers don’t like the hot new trend of rating teachers by how much their students improve on standardized tests. They cite research showing the tests are unreliable indicators of what is happening in classrooms, particularly when based on just a year of data. They are right.

Test score improvement, if assessed over a few years, can identify those at the very top and bottom of the teacher effectiveness scale. But the data gets really mushy in the middle. We don’t have nearly enough experience with student performance measures to put as much weight on them as we are doing in the District and several other school districts.

Why is that?

It’s time for the candidates to offer a strong education strategy Reuters commentary by Joel Klein and Margaret Spellings (Joel I. Klein is a former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and served as Assistant Attorney General under Bill Clinton. Margaret Spellings is a former Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush.)

In the late 1960s, a Stanford University psychologist began conducting his now famous “marshmallow test” to understand “delayed gratification” – the ability to wait.

He would place a 4-year-old alone in a room with a single delicious marshmallow, promising to give him two marshmallows after a short wait. Some children succumbed to temptation, while others held out for the bigger reward. The children who could control their impulses went on to become better, higher-achieving students.

Why do we bring up this iconic experiment now, in the midst of the 2012 election season?

We believe that helping American children get access to a great education is a two-marshmallow political test. In contrast to relatively quick fixes like even more quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve or temporary deficit spending fiscal policies, addressing the challenges facing U.S. schools and students cannot be achieved over the course of a quarter (or even an election cycle). But underperforming labor markets and the alarmingly high 8.1 percent unemployment rate make the goal of improving our public schools even more obviously critical to America’s future. Making smart fixes to the public education system now, as outlined in our recent Council on Foreign Relations report, will pay off later.

Is technology sapping children’s creativity?

Washington Post commentary by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma.

My 4-year-old grandson Jake who lives in Guatemala recently called my husband in his office on Skype. No one seems to know how Jake managed to get onto the computer and make the call. And, as I sat talking to a friend, her 3-year old somehow found her iPhone and found his way to a video of Cat in the Hat.

It wasn’t long ago that we were talking about how much TV kids should watch. And now here we are in the midst of a technology revolution that is happening so fast we can barely keep up with the number of devices and the options for screen time available to kids — on computers, tablets, cell phones, iPhones, flip down car monitors, interactive “app” toys, and on and on.

There has not been time to reflect on how this cascading influx of technology is affecting us all or to study the potentially far ranging influence it is having on our children. While electronic games for young children are flooding the market (72 percent of iTunes’ top-selling “education” apps are designed for preschoolers and elementary school children), the research on their impact is scant.

A great many adults these days tell me how impressed they are with their young kids’ facility with technology or with what they think the kids are learning as they interact with screens. But let’s back up a little, think about what we know about how children grow and learn, and consider this pervasive new influence through that lens.

High school football participation

An anecdotal look at changing perceptions in California preps ESPN commentary by columnist Tim Keown

A couple of weeks ago, at a high school football game near where I live, a team showed up and played with just 13 players in uniform. Predictably, the game ended 53-0, and it was a struggle for the winning team to keep from scoring 100. At one point, a kid running a punt back for a touchdown intentionally fell at the 20 because enough was enough.

On the same night, at Galt High School near Sacramento, the school’s administration decided to forfeit a game rather than play with 14 healthy bodies. This was a big enough story to make the 11 o’clock news; Galt High has been playing football for 89 years, many of them with distinction, and this was the first time it had been forced to forfeit.

You want to see the impact of our increased awareness of football’s dangers? Look down, not up. Most of the high-minded discussions of safety in football center on the college and professional levels, where athletes are bigger and faster and the consequences of throwing your skull around for years are far more lasting and serious. But the biggest change in perception is taking place at the high school level. This is primarily anecdotal evidence, but, through three weeks of the season in California, there are some definite trends taking shape.

There are more schools struggling to round up more than 20 players. There are more and more comically lopsided scores — 50-0, 60-0 — making the dreaded second-half running clock a more frequent occurrence. The difference in participation, skill level and coaching ability between the schools with rich football traditions and those without them is growing exponentially.

Review of The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City National Education Policy Center analysis by Sara Goldrick-Rab, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This Brookings report examines college enrollment rates of students participating in an experimental New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program, which in the spring of 1997 offered 3-year scholarships worth up to $1,400 annually to low-income families. The study identifies no overall impacts of the voucher offer, but the authors report and emphasize large positive impacts for African American students, including increases in college attendance, full-time enrollment, and attendance at private, selective institutions of higher education. This strong focus on positive impacts for a single subgroup of students is not warranted. There are no statistically significant differences in the estimated impact for African Americans as compared to other students; there is important but unmentioned measurement error in the dependent variables (college attendance outcomes) affecting the precision of those estimates and likely moving at least some of them out of the realm of statistical significance; the authors fail to demonstrate any estimated negative effects that could help explain the average null results; and there are previously existing differences between the African American treatment and control groups on factors known to matter for college attendance (e.g., parental education). Contrary to the report’s claim, the evidence presented suggests that in this New York City program, school vouchers did not improve college enrollment rates among all students or even among a selected subgroup of students.




Research Links ‘Responsive’ Teaching to Academic Gains Education Week

Fifth graders in schools where teachers faithfully used the Responsive Classroom teaching approach performed better on statewide assessments of mathematics and reading skills than their peers at schools that did not use the social-emotional-learning program’s strategies as much, according to new research presented at a national conference here last week.

The findings, discussed at the fall meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, are part of a comprehensive, three-year study of the program, which trains 10,000 teachers each year. A team of researchers led by Sara Rimm-Kaufman, an associate professor of leadership, foundations, and policy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has also been examining the program’s effect on teacher-student dynamics in the classroom and on standards-based math instruction.

Can NAEP Predict College Readiness?

Education Week

If you want to know which states are closing black-white achievement gaps in grades 4, 8, and 12, the National Assessment of Educational Progress can show you. If you want to find out how many 8th graders understand how to translate decimals to fractions, “the nation’s report card” can help with that, too.

But after nearly a decade of effort, educators and policymakers are still trying to figure out whether NAEP can predict how likely a state’s students are to start college without needing to take remedial courses, not to mention whether they are prepared for careers. And researchers’ struggles with the federally administered NAEP may highlight the uphill battle that awaits the developers of common state assessments or anyone else trying to tie school performance to the post-high-school world.

Income Gap Shows Need for Better Education, Diamond, Chao Say Bloomberg

The widening income gap in the U.S. and the struggles of middle-income Americans would be best addressed by bolstering the education system, Nobel prize- winning economist Peter Diamond said.

“What we need to do is increase the quality of education, that has to start with preschool all the way up,” Diamond, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at the Bloomberg Markets 50 Summit in New York today.

Elaine Chao, labor secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration, said the country must put greater emphasis on job training in the private sector as well as on “relevant” and “dynamic” government job-training programs.

She agreed with Diamond that high-quality education, especially in kindergarten through high school, is “extraordinarily important” for U.S. economic competitiveness.

Agreement near in Chicago teachers strike: union chief Reuters

CHICAGO – The head of the Chicago Teachers Union said on Thursday an agreement was near to end a four-day strike in the nation’s third-largest school district over education reforms sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Asked how close the union was to a deal with Chicago school officials, teachers union president Karen Lewis told reporters: “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a nine.”

But it was unlikely students would be back in school before Monday even if a tentative deal was struck today, she said. (Chicago Tribune)

New Study from World Savvy shows that among those 18-24 there is Lack of Global Competency Skills for 21st Century Global Economy eNewsChannels

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A recent study of 18-24 year old American high school graduates commissioned by education nonprofit World Savvy, with support from the International Baccalaureate Organization, shows a desire among young people to learn more about global topics, but a conspicuous lack of instruction within American schools to satisfy these needs. The resulting lack of global competency skills can make it difficult for young Americans to thrive in an increasingly global economy.

“There is no question that the shifting demands of an interconnected, interdependent global economy and society requires that graduates are globally competent; knowledgeable about the world, capable of thinking creatively and critically about problems, and adept at working collaboratively with a diverse group of people to find solutions,” remarked Dana Mortenson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of World Savvy, the nonprofit organization responsible for commissioning the study. “It is imperative that we create learning environments that prioritize and cultivate this kind of global experience, if we want students to truly be college and career ready. Through exposure to a range of educational programs which develop global competency, World Savvy students have this kind of preparation.”

A copy of the survey

Poll: Parents and teachers support spending for classroom technology Hechinger Report

Parents and teachers are generally united in the belief that the United States should spend more money on technology in classrooms, according to the results of an August poll conducted by the LEAD Commission.

The group, which is studying the way technology can be used in classrooms, surveyed 883 parents and 812 public school teachers to determine if there is grassroots support for major investments in classroom technology. The poll did not ask parents and teachers what kind of technology is currently being used in classrooms, or what the nation’s next steps should be to utilize technology in schools.

Over 60 percent of the parents and teachers polled said that the United States is behind the curve when it comes to using technology in the classroom, and over 90 percent of those polled said that technology is, “important to the education of American students today.”

And at a time when many districts are looking for ways to save money and cut costs, the majority of those polled said that classroom funding should be spent on Internet-connected devices rather than on traditional methods of learning, such as textbooks. However, only 18 percent of teachers polled said they are receiving the necessary training to use technology to its fullest potential in their own classrooms.

A copy of the survey

Arne Duncan promotes digital education

San Francisco Chronicle

In five years, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hopes the sight of students hunched over because of textbook-filled backpacks will be a thing of the past.

“These are really tough economic times, but I’ve been very public that we need to move from print to digital as fast as we can,” Duncan said Wednesday outside of Sequoia High School in Redwood City, one of the first stops on his Back-to-School Bus Tour promoting digital education.

Swapping textbooks for e-readers might seem unthinkable for school districts that are receiving fewer state dollars year after year. But Duncan cited the case of Moorseville, N.C., which started providing MacBooks instead of new textbooks to about 4,400 students in the district and saw test scores rise while continuing to rank at the low end of per-pupil spending in the state.

Safety class is required for students to get parking USA Today

Not long before Corey Murphy became principal of Beaufort High School in South Carolina in July, two students were killed and a third seriously injured in a car crash. Murphy decided it was time for an “intervention.”

From that point on, students who wanted to be able to park their cars at the school would be required to take a driving safety course called Alive at 25, developed by the National Safety Council.

“Every day, I’ve got the largest group of at-risk drivers in this county in my parking lot,” Murphy said. “I’d like to think that they’ve been taught at least once what to do and not do behind the wheel.”

Beaufort High became one of 103 South Carolina schools to offer the course — one of 25 new ones this year and one of 72 that require it for parking privileges, according to Brooke Russell, executive director of the state’s chapter of the National Safety Council.

A growing number of other states offer it:

Violet violin violation: Tibbetts orchestra won’t allow purple instruments Farmington (NM) Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The girl with the purple violin and the Tibbetts Middle School Orchestra couldn’t settle their differences.

Camille Cruz, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Tibbetts, switched her elective from orchestra to choir Tuesday morning, said Sherry Lopez, the girl’s mother.

She made the choice to switch music programs over the brouhaha caused by her nontraditional violin.

Cruz was told last week that her purple violin was not suitable for a middle school orchestra and she would have to use one of the school district’s wooden-bodied instruments.

The order struck a nerve with Lopez.

Twitter Education Forum

NPR Tell Me More

Education has always played a key role in the American dream of advancement and opportunity. But, to this point, the issue has not been a major topic of discussion in this election season. On Wednesday, October 10th, NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin will host a LIVE radio broadcast and Twitter Education Forum, focusing on the education issues that matter.

Join us on Twitter today, using #npredchat and let’s begin the exchange of ideas! Tell Me More’s Twitter Education Forum is produced in partnership with StateImpact Florida as well as member station WLRN in Miami, Florida.




USOE Calendar

UEN News

September 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

September 18:
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

September 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building

October 5:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

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